Today I said farewell to Perseus, who had lived with me longer than any human or non-human animal except for Greg.
Greg and I adopted Perseus in December 2002, when he was a young adult who had started life in “Archie’s Alley” feral cat colony near the intersection of Euclid and 14th St. NW in Washington, D.C. I don’t know what Metro Ferals did to socialize him, but they did it well, because he was one of the most affectionate of the many cats Greg and I adopted during our life together. Perseus took to sleeping on my pillow almost every night, and cuddling by day with Growltiger and Ferdinand, our two senior male cats. When the older felines died, we adopted again – and this time, Perseus bonded with Meiling, a female some eight years his junior, who stayed by his side until his very last day.
Perseus had been my miracle kitty, and Greg made that miracle happen.
In November 2012, when Perseus was approximately eleven years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. I will never forget the day Greg and I took Perseus to have his “tumor” removed at a specialist vet, when the surgeon phoned to tell me that the “cancer” had spread much further than originally believed, and that I should consider letting Perseus go peacefully. I was almost ready to give the vet the go-ahead, but told him I needed to first consult with my husband. “What’s wrong with you?,” Greg asked me. “Remind the surgeon that our animals are our kids, and tell him to give Perseus a chance.” So Perseus had his operation, and it turned out that he didn’t have cancer at all – but rather a rare but treatable fungal condition.
Greg knew better than the specialist vet, that time at least.
Perseus finally did succumb to cancer this morning – but Greg’s love, and his belief that anything was possible, had first bought Perseus 5-1/2 years of quality life that he would not otherwise have had. That, and excellent vet care during Perseus’ senior years – from Middleburg Animal Hospital and The Life Centre when we lived in Virginia, from Yellow Springs Veterinary Clinic and Veterinary Referral Associates during our final year together in Maryland, and even from experts at the Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital who provided remote consultation.
Meiling and I have lost a dear, dear friend. It is comforting, however, to think that he is with his buddies Growltiger and Ferdinand again – and that he is with Greg.
~ Alysoun, 4/10/18